Royal Rumble, the 30-men mega event of the year that sets the stage for WrestleMania, is known for its historic returns of wrestlers. From John Cena returning in 2008 and winning it to the Rated-R-Superstar Edge triumphing it in 2021, the comebacks have been a spectacle for the WWE fans. Last year, it was 'the comeback of The Beast Incarnate', Brock Lesnar who won the royal rumble.
This time, 15 players have been finalised to compete in the Rumble match. This includes Brock Lesnar, Rey Mysterio, Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston and Sheamus among others.
But the other 15 players, have not been announced. This might include some veteran wrestlers making returns or some superstars back from their injuries to compete once again. No body knows, what surprise the WWE throws at us, but whatever it is, its going to be great.
Here are four possible returns we might see at the Royal Rumble:
1. Booker T: The former WWE superstar and six-time champion can mark his return at the Royal Rumble 2023. Though Booker T has never won the Rumble, he did defeat Triple H in WrestleMania 19. The speculations of whether Booker T will make his comeback in the ring have emboldened in the last few days, as the wrestler has shared his thoughts on it.
Booker T recently said, that if given the opportunity, he is definitely is going to execute it. "I will be checking, the mail everyday all the way up until that day, because if I get an invitation, I'm going to execute it," he said.
The last time Booker T made his return at the Royal Rumble was in 2011. Though he didn't win the match, his return charged up the crowd. This year too, even if he is not been made to have a shot at the title, his return will definitely provide a big boost to the WWE universe.
2. Randy Orton: The Viper has been out of action since May 2022 because of an injury. Many also predicted that owing to the extent of his back injury, which he suffered during a match in SmackDown, his career was over.
But it has not been made official by the company and Orton also had a surgery for his lower back.
Moreover, the 42-year-old has been one of the trump cards of the company and he has performed very well in the last couple of years with the younger talents. And if Orton returns, he is surely going to make his way to the WrestleMania against Roman Reigns.
3. Zack Ryder: Ryder is considered to be one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time. Despite the crowd always backing him, the company hardly showed any interest in pushing him up and this also resulted in Ryder leaving the company in 2020 after WrestleMania 36.
The former WWE Intercontinental champion, who now wrestles under his real name Matt Cardona, said to a fan in October 2022 that "Zack Ryder is dead. Long Live Matt Cardona".
However, that doesn't mean that the superstar can never make a return. As per Bleacher Report, Ryder said that he can make a return to wrestling but would want it to be under his name real name. But he also mentioned that even if the company still pushes to use the name Zack Ryder which they have invested so much in, he wouldn't hesitate in making a comeback for a Rumble event.
And again, Ryder, after returning to the company, might not feature in a storyline for a championship match at WrestleMania. But his run with other superstars will generate a lot of buzz for the WWE universe. And who can forget how happy the Little Jarrius will be to see one of his favourite wrestlers back in action.
4. The Rock: One of the the biggest superstars of the WWE from the attitude era, who pulls the crowd like no one else, The Rock can also make a return at Royal Rumble. It has been rumoured for weeks of the impending return of The Rock but it has not been confirmed by the company. If The Rock returns and wins the Rumble match, he can be set alongside his cousin Roman Reigns for a match at WrestleMania 39.
In 2014, the Rock indeed made a surprise return at the Royal Rumble to assist Roman Reigns in winning the championship. But that didn't go down well with the WWE Universe as Reigns was then not liked by the fans.
However, things have changed in the last eight years and Roman Reigns in his new heel character has become a crowd favourite.
The Rock vs Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39 can also be the one last time the great one competes in the ring after a glorious career which started in 1996. This makes a win-win situation for The Rock and the WWE.
The Royal Rumble will be telecast live on January 29, at 6:30 am (IST) on Sony Network channels. It will stream online also on SonyLiv app.